Postgraduate Module Descriptor

LAWM078: Environmental Law and Policy

This module descriptor refers to the 2014/5 academic year.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will include the following topics in the order indicated:


Introduction to environmental law

  • Common law and environmental law (including personal injury)
  • Environmental law as public law
  • EU and UK environmental law
  • Environmental principles
  • Environmental regulation – theory and practice

Environmental regulation and environmental media

  • Waste and hazardous materials
  • Water resources and water quality
  • Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control and air pollution
  • Greenhouse gas emissions and climate change

Enforcement of environmental law in the UK

  • Environmental offences and criminal law
  • Specific environmental offences
  • Problems of environmental enforcement

Environmental justice

  • Access to environmental information
  • Public participation
  • Access to justice
  • Environmental human rights

Protecting natural resources

  • Bio-diversity loss
  • Environmental damage and liability
  • Addressing historic pollution

Technology risks

  • Genetically modified organisms
  • Emerging technologies

Environmental Law and commercial transactions

  • Property transactions – freehold and leasehold
  • Share and asset acquisitions
  • Bank lending and finance
  • Insurance


For each seminar guided reading will be given. Students will be expected to have read this material in advance of the class. It will form the basis of class discussion and will inform any workshop exercises or group work conducted in the workshop. Occasionally, students will be asked to prepare a presentation for the workshop based on the reading material. Students are expected in the aftermath of the workshops to spend some time also reviewing notes made based upon the reading to eliminate any errors of understanding and to reflect further on and to consolidate the learning undertaken in the workshop.

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities30Lecture led seminar classes (10 x 3 hours)
Guided independent study210Introductory reading and preparation for seminars (see above)
Guided independent study60Preparation of assessments (see below)

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).


This is an online resource created by the course leader